Creators Spotlight: Tyler Ensrude (Part 3)

Discussion in 'Features' started by I Crush All, Jun 24, 2022.

  1. I Crush All

    I Crush All The Bojack Horseman of the Forge Community
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    This is part 3 of an article, if you haven't seen Part 2 or Part 1 please click one of these links for full context

    Part 1

    Part 2

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    C: What would you say has been your favorite project (That has been released) as a dev? Of course, there's Catalyst, Behemoth, Deadlock, and Aquarius to pick from.


    T: I think my favorite would have to be Catalyst, that would be my simple answer to the question. From start to finish it was a really clear vision and idea, there wasn't much rework, and I think it ended up being exactly what I wanted, but you know the other maps are pretty special in their own right too for me. Behemoth was the first map that I worked on and it went through a ton of different iterations and Deadlock was the first Banished map for the game too, and that was like the first time we were having Banished stuff in the main-line Halo Titles so that was cool to work on too. Aquarius was also the super traditional, small, arena-focused variant map that focused in on really tight gameplay. They all have their own unique and special flavor to them.


    C: One hundred percent, there is actually one thing that I'm curious about when it comes to Deadlock, as you said that's the first Banished map and everything, now of course there is the big AA gun on there, was that ever incorporated into the original design, or was that just cut for gameplay, the interior of the gun that is.? Akin to spire from Reach? If you're allowed to talk about that of course.

    T: Oh yeah, at one point you could go inside the gun, but we ended up scrapping that pretty early because it created a lot of problems with the power balance of the area.


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    C: Gotcha so the power balance is kinda messy in that case?

    T: Yeah it made it a little messy, it was kind of just detached from the main layout and was pretty easy to hold down, even with a gravity lift n stuff going into it, so it became an overly powerful spot to hold out, it ended up playing a whole lot better when that was removed to allow players to move and play around it, rather than just camping/sitting in the middle of it.

    C: That's awesome, of course, I had to ask that as I'm sure other people in the community have wondered "Hey I wondered if they have tried something like Spire and had the AA gun accessible, but yea I can definitely see that as a little bit of an issue haha.

    What has been the Best/Favorite thing that you have seen from the (Forge) community?
    Whether that be a mini-game or a favorite map.

    T: The first thing that comes to mind is back in Halo 3 there was a really cool game mode called Asset. It was hot off the tails of Halo 3: ODST's release, that was the first time we got to experience the engineers, you know the little pink floaty VIRGL Squid guy, and it was cool because when you got near him you got an Overshield. So the super hyper-creative community decided that they were going to make their own mode based off that in Halo 3's Forge, they built it off a VIP Variant, where your VIP was super floaty and you influenced player traits if you were near your team as the VIP. You got an Overshield just like in the game and at its core, it was kind of like a survival firefight type mode, they leaned into it pretty heavy too, one team was ODST's and they fell from the sky to protect the engineer and the other 2 would spawn with covenant weapons and classes to take on the role of different AI within the campaign. So it was just this big battle where overtime stuff would get unlocked and progress into larger and larger fights, so at the 2-minute mark the Covenant side would get a ghost, 3-minute mark a chopper, and at 6 minutes in, they'd get a wraith. I have a really cool memory of some of the maps because a lot of them took place on the Sandbox canvas and they would kinda be glitched out so the outer dunes wouldn't be instant death making them a lot more expansive with super hilly terrain. So towards the end of some maps, you wouldn't even know the wraith had spawned in, you would just be getting mortared over the back hills and it was so sick, it was just like a campaign experience and really cool.


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    C: That's awesome, I'll have to look that up sometime as I'm pretty sure I haven't heard or seen that before.

    T: Yeah it was honestly so ahead of its time, it deserved a lot more recognition than it got in my opinion, you could actually win it too, if you survived for 8 minutes a hornet would spawn in the skybox and fall gracefully and you'd take that (With your VIP in the passenger) to a checkpoint flying in the sky that you could only reach with the Hornet.

    C: Sounds really fun, wish I played it back in the day

    T: There should be evidence of it somewhere, whether it's on ForgeHub or YouTube clips somewhere I'm sure there are still clips you can find of it. But that was the biggest thing that I remember sticking with me but there have also been tons of minigames that have been made over the years that came out of Halo 3 like OG ones TNT Pollo, Hobo heights, and Jenga, which is still a fan favorite to this day. But I know recently in Halo 5's Forge, one of the craziest things that came out of that was the Flapjack Frenzy mode, where everyone is just a Pancake in a griddle, and banshee spatulas are coming in to flip em and kill them. Stuff like that, the Halo community is just really creative and they've made some very memorable stuff. I'm kinda excited to see where it goes in the future.


    C: Yeah gotta flip those pancakes off the Pan Right? Haha Hopefully with Infinite's Forge there will be a lot of crazy modes, I'm sure the overhaul that will hopefully happen similar to Halo 5 (with features, objects, and more) hopefully this Forge will last a while and come up with a lot of really cool and interesting minigames. I'm sure a lot of people honestly have really cool ideas based off the current sandbox.

    T: Oh for sure, yeah, I can imagine that there's going to be a ton of stuff. I mean, the Forge Lord himself, Michael Schorr himself he's been doing an amazing job; using Halo 5's forge as like the base template and just adding and expanding Forge to be even cooler, there's going to be a lot more potential for sure! It's going to be opening a lot of doors to do a lot of really cool stuff.


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    C: A hundred percent, it's always been cool to see how like each game seemingly uses the base template as the previous game's template and expands and elevates based off there, instead of starting from scratch but I guess technically Halo 5 started from scratch since uh whatchamacallit since the controls and menus were so different.

    T: Yeah Halo 5 was such a big overhaul that it felt completely different in a lot of ways, yeah for sure.

    C: Another question I actually have for you relating to becoming a dev, for people who have been level designing for a while or even like, starting now, what would you recommend for them to do to try and get into the games industry, whether that be for level design or something else, what would you recommend them to do in order to have the most success there?


    T: Yeah I think the number one thing you can do is to start making stuff, just start diving in and creating, get the people to play stuff you make, get feedback, and keep publicizing yourself whether that be within a community or places like Twitter to get yourself out there more. That will also allow you over time to grow your skills, there are a lot of different ways you could go about it, you can go to school for game design/development, take classes, teach yourself on Youtube, and watching and playing games. Forge is a great tool to do that kind of stuff and one of the great things about Forge too in general is that it's not one specific thing, you can get into level design, you can get into arting things, you can get into lighting, uhm, there's just a ton of different avenues to go down and they're all really user friendly and easy to get into with Forge so it's a great starting place, but eventually I think you can hop into a standalone game engine, whether that's like unity or Unreal, but overall the best way to go about stuff is to just start making it. You can also document it, make videos, take pictures, keep a list of feedback for the map, and eventually use all of that to make a portfolio. Once you've got a portfolio of all the awesome cool stuff that you can do then you can start really applying to studios and try to get your foot in the door. Because now you have a showcase of all the awesome stuff you can make. Once you have that, then you can convince other people that you can make really cool stuff for their game, so that's definitely, I think, the way to go about it is to jump into it head first and start making cool stuff!


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    C: Awesome, hopefully, you guys will take that into consideration if you'd like to join the games industry! Because of course Forging is in a since level design, so it's kinda like a job in some ways haha.

    T: It certainly can be and it's gotten several people from the Halo community hired at 343 alone. Myself, Cliff Schuldt, Blaze, Randy, Iron Wolf, Connor; yeah it's a really cool opportunity to get into game design through the tool and our experience from/with it.

    C: Some people from ForgeHub like listed before have got into 343i and other teams, I think Max also got in at some point, Psychoduck and others too.

    T: Yeah Psychoduck has been working on MCC for a while now and doing awesome stuff on that!

    C: Yeah I gotta talk to him at some point about the Halo 2 BTB change to 1 frag grenade spawns, that's for another time though haha.

    T: Haha yeah that's for him, take that up with him haha.


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    C: A lot of people from the Forge community have got in and it's nice to see because overall it does help the game I think, as we are a part of the community we know what the community likes/enjoys sometimes and we're always growing as well so it's always fun to try and please the community, especially in Halo 5 with all the excess playlists, from like Husky Raid to Extermination to Castle Wars, to all the BTB maps, it's like, we had a lot from Halo 5 that came straight from the Forge community and kept the game alive for a while. Heck, even the action sack playlist.

    T: Oh yeah totally, it's all super achievable if you apply yourself.

    C: Well, thank you so much Tyler for coming out and taking this interview, I know we kinda messed up the first recording (No audio recorded for an hour and a half) but hahaha but it's all water under the bridge lol

    T: No worries man! It's all part of the process, right? haha

    C: Exactly exactly all part of the process haha; but would there be anything else that you'd like to say to the Forgers whether new or old or anyone else that could be watching/reading before we sign off?

    T: Yeah I guess just thank you to all of the people who helped inspire me and helped me along the way, all of the forgers and the community members. You've played a huge part in my life whether you realize it or not, it's been amazing; talking to you, hanging out with you, and working with you, I've met most of my actual real-life best friends through Forge and the Halo community in general. It's a great community at its heart and there's a lot of cool people involved, and you know I'm super thankful for Tom French who gave me the first shot at getting into the industry through the tools that he made, and, yeah I don't know it's just uhm Halo can be pretty great and the people involved with it are pretty great too.

    C: That's awesome man, I'm really appreciative that you came out here and did this, and hopefully we'll meet each other at Halo Championship Series World Championship this year! haha

    T: Yeah absolutely haha!


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    Thank you Tyler again for coming out to do this, this was our first member of 343i that we've had the pleasure of interviewing, as stated before anything said in this interview has no affiliation with Microsoft or 343i, Tyler's words and opinions are his own and this article was purely made to help new forgers and old ones know some of what it takes to join the industry as a whole and to give you a look into who Tyler is.

    This has been our monthly Creators Spotlight, we here at Forgehub hope you've been enjoying the series and look forward to more where we feature more of you even more! If you'd like a chance at being featured in one of these articles join up on some of our weekly Saturday Gamenight and if I see some cool stuff I may ask you to be a part of this series for an episode!

    Without further ado, as this has been quite a long article, thank you, everyone, for reading and we can't wait to see you on the next installment!

    Your friendly neighborhood writer!
    -Crush
     
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